What does Pass Plus entail? Whats different about Pass Plus Cymru? Where do we go and what do we do exactly?
All these and more answered in this article outlining briefly the Pass Plus Course!
So what is Pass Plus?
Pass Plus is a series of modules taking in a variety of driving situations that you may or may not have come across on your driving lessons.
It has 6 modules that require a minimum of 6 hours to cover.
The 6 modules are;
- Introduction & Town Driving
- Driving at night
- Driving in adverse weather conditions
- Dual Carriageways
- Rural Roads
Some of them may have to be covered in theory if the circumstances warrant it. Such as night driving in the middle of August may be impracticle for some. Driving in the snow in June is a little tricky too. I should imagine it would be difficult, even with 6 hours to play with, for someone in the depths of Greath Yarmouth to get much driving done on a motorway.
So as you can see, its designed to cover a few things but its not perfect in all situations.
The next question is why?
It was designed with new learners in mind. In the first 6 months the chances of an accident of some kind is extremely high. Due to the lack of experience and post-test nerves. Pass Plus is meant to plug that gap of experience by using a well designed course over a thought out route to fast-track as much as possible into 6 hours of driving.
The instructor is what makes the Pass Plus though. It needs someone who will plan a route that incorporates as many different road types, situations and hazards as possible in order for you to safely deal with them while having a trained professional by your side. Statistically the more training you do and the more you cover, the less the chance of having an accident you have!
Whats different about Pass Plus Cymru?
Pass Plus Cymru is a Government iniatative to help combat the ever growing number of young people killed or seriously injured (KSI) on the roads each year. By completely subsidising the training, they intend for more people to take up the course and gain that invaluable knowledge. This should in theory, cut down on the number of people killed or seriously injured. The way they do this is by offering the course to you at £20 to cover administration costs. This cost is now completely covered by us. Meaning it is totally free to all people who meet the criteria. The instructor will then invoice the Road Safety Team for your local council for payment of the course. There are one or two little conditions the councils set to be able to take up this course. You must be aged 17 to 25 and have passed your test in the last 12 months.
The other great thing about Pass Plus Cymru is that it encourages 2 people to train together to get more time in the car and ultimately more experience again. This is because instead of 6 hours of training, with 2 people in the car we do a minimum of 9 hours of training. I know what you're probably thinking, 9 hours in the car is going to be hell. Its not. You're not doing a driving lesson, you aren't put on the spot with tests or quizzed with questions. You're given the chance to drive in areas and situations you wouldn't normally or haven't yet. With the relaxed atmosphere and chat between the 3 of us, the time just flys by. 6 hours on your own is adequate, but 9 hours is a road trip...
What do YOU do on pass plus then?
We begin with a warm up getting up to the starting area. We then cover rural roads both open, fast and sweeping followed by closed, narrow and twisty. We then head out through a couple of areas neither will have driven in before. Next its on to the M4 for a drive up to Newport before we stop for lunch. Next its back on the M4, over the Severn Bridge and into England. Up the M5 next and back down the M50. We keep coming back south then and turn across to towards the Black Mountains before heading back down to South Wales.
Thats a very basic run down of the route, minus the details we discuss covering the subjects of the Pass Plus while enroute.
What do I get for it?
Well the main reason anyone should do Pass Plus is to gain more experience and make themselves a better driver. We never stop learning, especially as drivers, so the more training we can do the better. The course can also bring insurance discounts with around 10 companies still giving a discount to those that complete the Pass Plus. There is no test at the end of the course but you will receive a certificate from the DVSA showing the completion of the course in full.
Below are some pictures from a couple of the courses I've run in the past. Many thanks to those who agreed to have their photos taken to do this. I appreciate it a great deal.
A quick run through of the course ahead, a snap of the 2 lucky lads and myself followed by one of the lanes on the route.
A short break from driving up on the mountains. One of the tight lanes we do followed by one of the prettier lanes on the route!
Time to join the M4, running nicely along the Cardiff section and the last shot is a reminder that not even on Pass Plus can we escape the odd bit of traffic.
Part of the drive is the 2 of you planning the route to make sure we head in the right direction. Ah, the tunnels mean we are. And that would be the Severn Bridge...
Crossing the bridge, who doesn't love driving over bridges? One of the benefits of 2 in the car, the one in the back gets to check out the scenery from time to time! And finally, an exciting moment for most, driving in a different country.
Here we get to understand the importance of knowing your route, the wrong way could mean about 40 minutes onto the journey. Middle picture shows they took the right road... And here we are coming back along possibly the nicest motorway in Britain, the M50!
More tunnels, this time the ones in Monmouth. Then on to dual carriageways to see the difference to all that motorway driving, before heading back in to South Wales to finish off.
So, taking in a huge road trip, more types of roads than you thought you knew, loads of new information to keep you safe and after all that, possibly a saving on your insurance too.
Please get in touch if you have any thoughts on doing Pass Plus with me, especially via the Pass Plus Cymru route. I am registered with both Swansea and Neath, Port Talbot councils so can offer it to anyone in those council areas.
For those that fall outside the criteria for Pass Plus Cymru, but would still like to have a go, please get in touch also and I will go through it with you.